Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Cossman, Jeralynn.

Committee Member

Dunaway, Gregory.

Committee Member

Brauner-Otto, Sarah.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Prescription stimulant abuse is a recent drug abuse trend that is becoming a major problem across the United States. Previous research has mainly examined the amount of individuals that are abusing prescription stimulants and has ignored using sociological theory to explain why individuals are abusing these drugs. To address this gap in the literature, this thesis applies the theory of social capital to explain how an adolescents’ family structure can affect the likelihood they will abuse prescription stimulants. Examining survey data from the 2008 The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it was found that adolescents from single parent households, with minimal parental involvement, are more likely to report abusing prescription stimulants. These findings highlight the influence of family structure and parental involvement in an adolescent’s life, as well as the need for additional research in this area to fully understand prescription stimulant abuse.